the 8 string guitar
A rare instrument with a velvety palette, the bottom string of my 8 string guitar is slightly lower than the cello's, giving voice naturally to great forms originally intended for lute, violin or keyboard. My current work on the Bach Lute Suites is a good illustration of the 8 string's musical possibilities and great colour flexibility, allowing an almost three dimensional definition of the works' melodic contours.
I always felt that we had yet to find an adequate “all purpose” format for the guitar that would do justice naturally to the wide repertoire we have access to today. After a period on the 10 string guitar, it was on a custom 7 string instrument created by master luthier Alastair McNeill
that I was able to fully develop my personal voice as a performer.
Recently, a hand injury created a space for intensive rethinking and the last piece of the puzzle fell quite suddenly and obviously into place. A small adjustment provided by an 8th string allows me to obtain the same notes and tessitura as on the 7 string, but with considerably greater ease and ergonomic efficiency.
I had visualised the whole thing beforehand in my head, and from the very first contact with an 8 string instrument my impressions were rapidly confirmed ... I had found the perfect compromise between the 10 string's harp like qualities and the athletic compactness of the 6 and 7 string instruments. For me, the musical benefits of moving to the 8 string in terms of fluidity, expression and sonority have been spectacular.
At present, a splendid 1975 José Ramirez 8 string will allow me to prepare my recordings and assure my concerts. Additionally, Tao Guitars just realised a brilliant 8 string transformation of my Stein Schuddicnk electro-classical and it's sounding great! These instruments will soon be joined by a sister as master luthier Alastair McNeill
finishes a apace age 8 string he has been specially creating for me.
Following my hand injury, I am coming back to recording, so new sound extracts on 8 string will follow on these pages very soon. You can find more details on the 8 string adventure in the pdf below. In the meantime, the following pages are full of 7 string mp3 files for your enjoyment.